Fabini could solve team's problems at right tackle

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys signed offensive tackle Jason Fabini to a three-year contract Saturday, a potentially key addition overshadowed by the signing of receiver Terrell Owens.

The 6-foot-7, 304-pound Fabini likely will take over the right tackle spot that's been troublesome pretty much since Erik Williams was in his Pro Bowl prime in the 1990s. Rookie Rob Petitti played there last season and struggled, especially when extra blockers were used to help other linemen.

Fabini broke into the league with the New York Jets in 1998 when Cowboys coach Bill Parcells was there. Fabini spent his entire eight-year career with the Jets, starting 114 straight games until he tore a chest muscle Nov. 18 and didn't return. He was released Feb. 22.

"I'm healed up and ready to go," Fabini said. "I start the offseason program Monday."

Fabini received a $1.75 million bonus as part of a deal worth at least $4.5 million, with escalators that could make it worth $7.5 million. His real value will be ending the turnstile at right tackle, plus being able to play on the left side should Flozell Adams not recover from the injury that knocked him out last season.

"He can really help solidify our offensive line," team vice president Stephen Jones said. "We needed some flexibility there as well."

Fabini, 31, is the latest member of the Parcells alumni club to be reunited with the coach. Other former Jets teammates he'll find in the locker room include Jason Ferguson and Aaron Glenn.

"It made it easier, knowing Bill is here," said Fabini, who spoke with Parcells several times last week. "He's a great coach. I'm looking forward to working for him again. He told me there was an opportunity at right tackle. I'm just looking forward for the chance to compete for the job and to help the team."

On another day, this signing might have been more heralded. On this day, Fabini had to wait to be introduced to Jerry Jones until the owner had finished speaking with reporters about Owens.

Fabini took it completely in stride, joking about the anonymity of offensive linemen.

So what does he think of his newest teammate?

"I think his play speaks for itself," Fabini said. "The guy wants to win, and he's a great player."